Celtic fear partial ground closure over pitch invasion

Celtic fear the partial closure of Parkhead for the Champions League home game against Bayern Munich next month after Uefa yesterday opened fresh disciplinary proceedings against them.

John Hatton is led away after running on the pitch during Celtic's Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
John Hatton is led away after running on the pitch during Celtic's Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

As expected, European football’s governing body has charged the Scottish champions over the pitch invasion during their 5-0 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain on 
Tuesday night.

Supporter John Hatton ran on to the park and tried to kick the French club’s striker Kylian Mbappe.

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He pleaded guilty to “pitch incursion and assault” at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday and has been given a football banning order ahead of being sentenced on 11 October.

John Hatton is led away after running on the pitch during Celtic's Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The case against Celtic will be heard by Uefa’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on 19 October in Nyon. It is the 15th time in the past ten years that the Parkhead club have been cited by Uefa for supporter misconduct.

They have racked up fines of over £230,000 in the process but there is now a genuine degree of concern around the club that the latest incident could bring a heavier sanction from Uefa, especially given the potential threat to the safety of a player which occurred on Tuesday.

Uefa has already handed out several partial stadium closures this season for cases of supporter misconduct – to Partizan Belgrade, Legia Warsaw, Rijeka and Linfield. The Northern Irish champions received the punishment after their Champions League qualifier against Celtic, which saw missiles thrown at Leigh Griffiths and a home supporter invade the pitch after the final whistle at Windsor Park.

CSKA Moscow, Olympiakos, Zenit St Petersburg, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have also seen sections of their grounds closed for one or two matches in recent years but those have all been for cases of racist or discriminatory conduct by supporters.

John Hatton is led away after running on the pitch during Celtic's Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Most of Celtic’s offences over the past decade have involved the use of pyrotechnics or the displaying of illicit banners by fans. They have, however, been punished twice previously for pitch invasions.

The first case saw a supporter attack AC Milan goalkeeper Dida during a Champions League game at Celtic Park in 2007. Uefa fined Celtic £25,000, half of it suspended for a two-year probationary period which was breached when another fan invaded the pitch during a Champions League game at home to Manchester United in 2008.

Celtic this season took their own action following the display of a paramilitary-themed banner during the home leg of their qualifier against Linfield.

The club’s board decided to proactively close the “Green Brigade” section of Celtic Park for their next home tie against Rosenborg.

Now the Scottish champions must wait to learn 
whether Uefa will order them to shut part of the ground for the visit of Bayern Munich on 31 October.

Paris Saint-Germain also face a disciplinary charge in the aftermath of Tuesday night with Uefa citing them for “acts of damage” by their supporters after seats were broken in the section of Celtic Park allocated to the visitors.